Curwood Lawyers Artist-in-Residence Exhibition

(6.30pm, Tuesday 14 October 2014, Australia Square Foyer)

Thank you, Scott [Kennedy, managing partner Curwoods]. Good evening, everyone.

I'd also like to acknowledge:

  • John Hatzistergos who opened last year's exhibition
  • Nick Vickers, the curator and manager of this terrific program and of course
  • Samuel Quinteros, Curwood's current artist-in-residence
  • As well as John Snelgrove, Curwood's partner, who introduced the artist-in-residence program in 2007 so that for about 12 to 15 months, the chosen artist is able to work out of a purpose-built studio within the offices on the seventh floor here at Australia Square.

It was an inspired move to simultaneously foster the talents of emerging artists, to support the work of Sydney Rotary's Youth Services and to open Curwood's staff to "a different perspective", and Samuel is now the sixth artist to have benefited from this unique patronage.

The city supports our artists and creative communities who enrich our experience of the city and our individual lives; who can inspire creativity in others and who are part of an increasingly important creative economy vital to all global cities.

Earlier this year, after wide consultation with our residents, artists and other creatives, we released our Creative City policy.

This includes an extended role for Art & About, which will run throughout the year and it builds on the work we are already doing to foster creativity in the City.

One priority is to provide affordable space for artists, as we have with our living and work spaces in Oxford and William Streets. And you're probably aware that under an innovative agreement between Council and the developer, Greenland's new Bathurst Street tower will include a creative hub on five floors, with music rooms, editing suites and studios for visual artists. The City will pay $1 a year for the 99-year lease, so that students and young artists can hone their skills right in the centre of the city.

The introduction of light rail along George Street will be a great transformative project that will include great public art.

We are also supporting a new interest-free loans scheme that will support art purchases from local galleries.

We are providing seed-funding of $60,000 to the art-publishing business, the 10 Group, to develop a system of interest-free loans to support art purchases from local galleries. It will provide an entry point for new collectors, it will support our diverse local galleries and - importantly - support both new and emerging artists living and working in our city.

That there is no shortage of talent in Sydney is evident when you visit any of our galleries, large or small, or when you look at this exhibition. Although only a recent graduate, Samuel's first solo exhibition according to one review, showed "sophistication, and a great deal of promise".

This residency will have further developed that promise, and this exhibition will open his work to a wider audience. All the works are available for purchase but there will be an auction this evening of two works proceeds from which - supported by a matching grant from Curwoods - will go to Rotary's Youth Service Committee.

So I urge you all to some spirited bidding, I congratulate Curwood's on a terrific initiative, and I congratulate Samuel on an outstanding exhibition, which I am delighted to declare officially open.